Recently I have been following the news regarding the suicide of a young mother who jumped from a cliff with her two year old toddler. It's been a very distressing story to follow and interesting to read the comments of some people. I get infuriated when people say "it's a cowardly thing to do". I think that's a ridiculous statement because jumping from a cliff would be a very un-cowardly thing to do, it would be terrifying. Now imagine doing that with the child you love in your arms? It's not cowardly, it's desperation and a feeling that there is no point in being alive anymore. Unfortunately, for those left behind when someone takes their life, and especially when a parent takes a child with them, the devastation is unbearable.
I know the devastation of suicide because my brother died this way. I have known many others who have died this way too. In their minds, they feel there is no escape from the torment what goes on in their heads, or they feel there is no way out of a desperate situation. Maybe that situation is financial or some other hardship. Maybe that desperation is from a feeling that there is no one to care or help them.
So what can we do as a community to help people in so much need? I will refer back to the young mother I started this story about, as she wrote on her Facebook page that 'you can hide behind a smile'. Maybe this young lady knew how to hide her pain and didn't know how to ask for help. I know from my experience with my brother's depression he would talk about his problems with me, and he did seek help, sadly though something got the better of him, and even with the support I gave him, he still chose to leave.
On the other hand, my mum suffered from severe depression all her life, she too talked about it, admitted to being depressed without being embarrassed about it. Mum tried to do something about it and she would reach out to me and friends. She passed in 2015 from her illness not from her depression. There were many times mum and I would sit and talk about life, and I would always try and get her to see the brighter side, however when that dark cloud is cloaking you it's not easy to fight off those crippling thoughts, which lead to feeling depressed. At least knowing there are people who are willing to help you and listen, that has to be some comfort.
I write this post from someone who has lost people to suicide and I can assure you that it takes a long long time to come to terms with losing someone you love this way.
For those of you who may be reading this because you are depressed, or you feel there is no help, be assured there are organisations, people, friends, teachers - all sorts of people who will lend an ear and give you someone to talk to.
As the Patron of www.support.org.au I ask you to reach out and seek help. Who knows what amazing things may turn up in your future life?